Should have read classics discussion

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Group Book Discussions > East of Eden

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message 1: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
This is the group read for October. Please be respectful of others in the group and remember that we are here to enjoy the books and find an appreciation for the classics we didn't enjoy in school. Thanks!


Eileen  aka "Lee" (goodreadscomgoodreadscomLee_P) | 55 comments Lisa wrote: "This is the group read for October. Please be respectful of others in the group and remember that we are here to enjoy the books and find an appreciation for the classics we didn't enjoy in school..."

I'm looking forward to the October read
and seeing East of Eden through today's viewpoints. I hope everyone will get on board and add thier views.


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Brick (lbrick363) | 3 comments I am picking up the book from the library today. :-) I can't wait! I have not read this book again in a long time.


message 4: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I going to be picking this up today at the library also! Can't wait to read it, I read Of Mice and Men in high school and I'm interested in how they compare to each other.


message 5: by Trina (new)

Trina | 5 comments Only saw the film in high school so will have to see how the book holds up. James Dean was pretty memorable in that movie.


message 6: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 68 comments Trina wrote: "Only saw the film in high school so will have to see how the book holds up. James Dean was pretty memorable in that movie."

Wasn't it the only film James Dean starred in that was released in his lifetime? I think the other two, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, showed in cinemas after his death. When I saw the movie he was exactly as I had pictured Cal Trask. I think the film is only the latter part of the book though.


message 7: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I started the book yesterday and was struck by the vivid descriptions of the Salinas Valley and the people that live there. I'm enjoying the descriptions of the people as well. I thought that it was poignant when Steinbeck talked about how during dry years, people forget about the wet years and how in the wet years people forget about the dry years. Seems to sum up life in general.


message 8: by Brooke (new)

Brooke (BrookieReadsBookies) | 17 comments Lisa wrote: "This is the group read for October. Please be respectful of others in the group and remember that we are here to enjoy the books and find an appreciation for the classics we didn't enjoy in school..."

Thanks Lisa! I completely agree. One of my favorite parts of this group since I joined was the collaboration and respectfulness of the majority of the group. I look forward to more.

I'm from Northern/Central California and have spent quite a lot of time in Monterey, Salinas and the surrounding area. So I've always felt an affinity for Steinbeck, but also have had a hard time comparing his Central Valley to the one I grew up in and experience now. It was such a bleak and corrupt place in The Pearl that I've struggled to get through any of his other books (Of Mice and Men was particularly difficult). I'm hoping to make it through this one and hear everyone elses perspectives and provide my own as well.


message 9: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I was apprehensive about reading this book, since I had bad memories from high school with Of Mice and Men. I must say that I'm really enjoying the story telling in this book. The characters are interesting and different. The story about Adam and Charles was chilling in its content. It is sad when people compete so hard for their parent's affection that it ruins the siblings relationship. The only complaint that I have right now is that I tend to get the characters confused with each other. I must say thanks to all the voted for this book this month, it has been a wonderful read so far and it makes me rethink my original opinion of Steinbeck.


message 10: by Trina (new)

Trina | 5 comments Ella's Gran wrote: "Trina wrote: "Only saw the film in high school so will have to see how the book holds up. James Dean was pretty memorable in that movie."

Wasn't it the only film James Dean starred in that was rel..."

I didn't know that. Sad that he passed away so young.


message 11: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
As I was starting my reading, I had noticed that there didn't seem to be many women characters that Steinbeck developed in the first part of the book. There was Alice, but she stayed in the background as well as the first wife who went crazy and committed suicide. Then there is Mrs. Hamilton, very stern, matronly women who I have a very clear picture of in my head, but I was surprised at the lack of interest in them. Then, I read about Cathy Ames. What wonderful imagery that Steinbeck gives for this women. What an interesting character, I'm trying to think if there is another female character like her-maybe Lady Macbeth?


message 12: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I'm still reading this one, albeit very slowly. How is everyone enjoying it so far?


message 13: by Lesley (last edited Oct 29, 2012 08:02PM) (new)

Lesley | 68 comments Lisa wrote: "As I was starting my reading, I had noticed that there didn't seem to be many women characters that Steinbeck developed in the first part of the book. There was Alice, but she stayed in the backgr..."

The lack of women is interesting Lisa. I don't recall Steinbeck having women take a lead role in any of his writings. The Pearl I just finished again recently, and really the only woman in that was his wife, but she was just there as the mother of the child whose death brought the father to his senses. Yet the story around the Hamiltons in this book is in fact Steinbeck's maternal family history compiled from stories told to him by his mother. Interestingly he did not seem to include much of his father's family history though. I believe he wrote this book for his sons - the father son thing.

The story about the Trasks is purely fiction if I remember correctly, and this more the focus of the movie.

What has surprised me is how clearly I remember the movie. I find myself often building the mental picture from it as I read. Given that as a class we were 'compelled' to see it I am quite surprised at the impact it had on me.


message 14: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I'm really enjoying this book! It just flows so nicely and the characters and very interesting. My favorite quote so far is "That's why I'm talking to you. You are one of the rare people who can separate your observations from your preconception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect." Lee's trouble with fitting into society was so true. He can fit into American society if he acts Chinese, but he does not fit into Chinese society because he is too American.


message 15: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
The book keeps mentioning the fact the some people kept picking up on Cathy's eyes and how dead they are. How Samuel and the sheriff had seem eyes similar to that on prisoners that were hanged. Has anyone ever met a person that did that to them? Had the goose walk over their grave to quote Samuel? Do you think that some people are born evil or become conditioned to do bad things? Nice Halloween topic this one!


message 16: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I'm still reading this one, and it has gone to some interesting places. Is anyone else still reading this one?


message 17: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
*Spoiler alert* How about the revealing of Charles's will?


message 18: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 68 comments Does Charles do this because he still likes Cathy; because he realises the boys could be his; because he just wants to rub Adam's nose in it? I can't imagine it was because he wanted his brother to be better off financially, and provide a good life for the boys. Nor can I imagine he was paying Cathy guilt money either.

What do you think?


message 19: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I rather think that he was happy to rub Adam's nose in it. Rather like sleeping with Cathy on the wedding night, it was a callous act that was able to show how Adam was a fool and naive about his wife. Although,that money did allow Adam to realize that Cathy did not have much of a hold on him anymore.

What do you think of the twins?


message 20: by Lesley (last edited Nov 07, 2012 08:11PM) (new)

Lesley | 68 comments The twins are a repeat of Adam & Charles. Aron dotes upon Abra as Adam did with Cathy, he is the most popular of the two boys, loved and admired by everyone whereas Cal has no real friends. Although, it is Adam who is humiliated by his father's financial misfortune, thinks only of himself and not how his father or anyone else may be affected. Cal seems to have greater feelings for his father to the point of feeling sorry for him. Cal seems to love his father more than Aron does.
Looking back this is a similar dynamic that caused Charles to hit out at Adam.

Aron's character seems to be rather static, lacking growth and predictable compared to Cal who seems a bit more real.


message 21: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
Yes, it is sad when Adam finally realized that he was a terrible father when he was speaking to Cal. At least, Cal seems to have a conscience unlike his mother, who has nothing. Can I say it again-I like this book!


message 22: by Lesley (last edited Nov 08, 2012 08:56AM) (new)

Lesley | 68 comments It's interesting too that when Adam learned the story of Cain and Abel he was outraged that God favoured Abel over Cain, and yet he does exactly that in favouring Aron over Cal!
The whole theme of sin over evil perpetuates through each generation, but in the end it is Cal who makes the choice - tishmel.
You surely can say again how much you like this book. I am enjoying it too. I did read it at school, but I seem to have less recall of the book than I do of seeing the movie. So, it is really like a first time read for me I guess.


message 23: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
Please excuse this non literary statement, but every time Cathy's small, sharp, white teeth is mentioned, I get the mental picture of a blond Gremlin smiling at me. Not very deep, I know.


message 24: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 68 comments Lisa wrote: "Please excuse this non literary statement, but every time Cathy's small, sharp, white teeth is mentioned, I get the mental picture of a blond Gremlin smiling at me. Not very deep, I know."

LOL. You're excused!Don't forget the eyes in that picture too.


message 25: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 68 comments East of Eden, the story of sin perpetuated through generations, consequential guilt, redemption and forgiveness.
Cal is the only one left alive at the end. When Adam, finally understanding that Cal loves him, raises his hand and before closing his eyes, says tishmel. Cal realises he has the freedom to choose the path he follows for life - good or evil - thus halting the negative family legacy.


message 26: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 68 comments Lisa wrote: "Please excuse this non literary statement, but every time Cathy's small, sharp, white teeth is mentioned, I get the mental picture of a blond Gremlin smiling at me. Not very deep, I know."

Last evening a woman was being interviewed on the tv news. She had blond hair, very fair skin, pale expressionless blue eyes and narrow little teeth! I probably wouldn't have noticed had you not made your comment! I don't know if her name was Cathy, but she wasn't a Gremlin.


message 27: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
Ella's Gran wrote: "East of Eden, the story of sin perpetuated through generations, consequential guilt, redemption and forgiveness.
Cal is the only one left alive at the end. When Adam, finally understanding that Ca..."


love your summary! Tishmel, that was hard for me to wrap my head around for quite awhile.


message 28: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
Ella's Gran wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Please excuse this non literary statement, but every time Cathy's small, sharp, white teeth is mentioned, I get the mental picture of a blond Gremlin smiling at me. Not very deep, I k..."

LOL! Now you can have a different picture of Cathy in your head. My apologies to the lady on the tv, did you start to laugh when you saw her?


message 29: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 68 comments Lisa wrote: "Ella's Gran wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Please excuse this non literary statement, but every time Cathy's small, sharp, white teeth is mentioned, I get the mental picture of a blond Gremlin smiling at me...."

I did laugh. That's why I've got no idea what she was even there for. As soon as I saw your comment came to mind.


message 30: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 68 comments Lisa wrote: "Ella's Gran wrote: "East of Eden, the story of sin perpetuated through generations, consequential guilt, redemption and forgiveness.
Cal is the only one left alive at the end. When Adam, finally u..."


Yes, I wasn't quite getting it until right at the end when I thought about how the deemed to not so good Cal was the only one left and Adam conceded that saying "tishmel".
I thought it was a great end to a wonderfully crafted story of fathers & sons, envy & jealousy, good & bad.
And thanks for the enjoyable discussion we had while reading it. It may not always have been truly literary but for me that's what made it enjoyable - just like we were chatting over a coffee.
Looking forward to more.


message 31: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1863 comments Mod
I enjoyed it also. I will say it again that I really liked this book, so glad that it won!


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